"I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books."


Sunday, January 14, 2007

The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation

The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation
by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Ernie Colón
Based on the Final Report of the National Commission of Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
With a foreward by the Chair and Vice Chair of the 9/11 Commission Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton
Publisher: Hill and Wang (a division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN 13: 9780809057399
ISBN 10: 0809057395

On December 5, 2005, the 9/11 Commission issued its final report card on the government’s fulfillment of the recommendations issued in July 2004: one A, twelve Bs, nine Cs, twelve Ds, three Fs, and four incompletes.

Que, que! I was stunned to read that! Only one A! Twelve D’s! Three F’s! If it had me at school back in the day, I would have been scared to come home with a report card like that. My mom would have given me a hell of a chanclaso. I literally would have been grounded for life. My grandparents would have cried. This isn’t a teenager’s report card, it’s our government’s report card.

I had meant to read the 9/11 report when it first came out, but was too busy trying to hold my life together at the time. I had lost my job right after 9/11 and had a hell of a time finding a new one, I’d moved because I couldn’t afford my old place anymore, my son was shipped off to the Middle East, my boyfriend was sent to Iraq and my family was just struggling to re-establish our pre-9/11 sense of security. Reading an 600 page report in the middle of it all seemed to make no sense. I retreated into the lovely and enchanted world of children’s literature. This was too deep for me to deal with.

Three years after the report came out, I still hadn’t read it. Life was back to normal (kind of) and I was busier than ever with writing, reviewing, helping out with the grandkids, working and just life in general. The 9/11 Report completely slipped my mind. Then I volunteered to be on a nominating panel for The Cybils (http://dadtalk.typepad.com/cybils/) in the graphic novel category and one of the nominated books was The 9/11 Report, A Graphic Adaptation.

I read this amazing report and was completely astounded by how well the graphic novel format suited it. Sid Jacobson’s text comes directly from the original report in a condensed and intelligent version and frequently follows it word for word. It’s extremely accessible to anyone without “dumbing down” the subject matter.

There are four separate timelines for each of the four flights that brilliantly illustrate what was going on with each. Each page is illustrated beautifully with a moody, dark feel which fits in perfectly. Ernie Colón's stunning artwork is highly detailed and captures the emotions and terror of the day as well as what followed. The book gives background on each of the terrorists as well as the events that led up to that horrible morning.

The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation captured me with it’s arresting story and art. Each detail was engraved on my mind in a way that no plain text would have done. The comic book format truly created an impact for me in a way that words alone would not have done. I, like many I suppose was put off by what I had perceived to be a dry story. I was wrong. The story of the four planes and of what happened both before and after 9/11 was absolutely riveting and painful to read. It brought back that horror that I felt watching my television that morning and of the dark times that followed. I felt everything all over again and I was reminded in a way that I needed to be reminded. I had become far too complacent and settled.

I think that the graphic novel and comic book mediums are excellent ways to present certain subjects to those who wouldn’t normally read them The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation belongs in every library.

About the Author:
Sid Jacobson was the managing editor and editor in chief for Harvey Comics, where he created several characters, among them Richie Rich, and was executive editor at Marvel Comics. He is the author of two novels.

About the Illustrator:
The artist, Ernie Colón, has worked at Harvey, Marvel, and DC Comics. At DC, he oversaw the production of Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Blackhawk, and the Flash; at Marvel, Spider-Man.

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